O.J. Howard is on the trade block, and these teams need to phone the Bucs

Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /
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Credit: Steven Ryan/Getty Images
Credit: Steven Ryan/Getty Images /

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers truly want to move O.J. Howard, these five teams should be getting ready with a trade offer.

Coming off a down 2019 (34 catches for 459 yards, one touchdown), it’s easy to get excited about the prospect of O.J. Howard catching passes from Tom Brady. But according to former NFL executive Michael Lombardi (via Greg Auman of The Athletic), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to trade Howard.

Tight end has been a background position in the offense of Buccaneers’ head coach Bruce Arians, perhaps due to never consistently having a top talent at the position. But Howard played a lot in 14 games (69 percent of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference). He played a good bit more than he did in 2017 (56 percent) and 2018 (39 percent), even accounting for a total of eight missed games over his first two NFL seasons.

Arians spoke a lot about getting Howard more involved in the offense last year. It did sort of eventually come, with 25 of his 53 targets for the season coming over four games from Week 13-Week 16.

If Howard is indeed on the trade block, these five teams should be in the mix to get him.

5. New York Jets

Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas has acknowledged the need to bolster the talent around Sam Darnold, and they are in line to draft a top wide receiver or offensive tackle with the 11th overall pick in the draft.

Tight end is also a question mark for the Jets. Chris Herndon can’t seem to get out of his own way, due to injuries or suspensions, and Ryan Griffin is simply, reliably average. Howard’s upside alone would automatically put him atop the depth chart .

An offense piloted by Darnold that adds a highly drafted wide receiver, better protection and a tight end that’s a downfield threat at some point in the next week to 10 days has the makings of a dangerous offense. Trading for Howard, in lieu of drafting a tight end, should be on the Jets’ radar now.